When the last chikadee leaves the nest. Now what?

I think it hits harder when the first child goes off the college. I didn't know what to expect. Heck, I was so uncomfortable with the idea, I moved to the same city as my child. From Miami to Nashville. No joke.

Think my daughter was impressed. Mmm. that's a big FALSE!

oh brother

A man and woman marry, they plan or don't plan a family, and if they become parents, well some how it happened. Matters not. The birth of a child is the birth of hope. Sure, you're life is what it is, but suddenly you're given this tiny wee babe, who relies upon you day and night. Sometimes, it seems more like the nights. But oh well.

Those days go by...I look back. It had to be nano-warp speed because there I was listening the Dean of Vanderbilt give his address welcoming the students and basically telling the parents, Adios...now, flee and go have a life.

Until that moment, I did have a life. Filled with the needs, wants, dreams of my daughter. Suddenly, I was untethered and it felt like I was falling faster than lead. I DIDN'T LIKE IT!!

But being a type-A jackass, I dove into work. A high school teacher and I had a new biology and physical science class needing to be set up. I stayed after classes. I was the first person in, manning the grill at football games, and carting students to and fro. I met tons of families and lots of kids that weren't my students. Still, it was a way to stop missing a life that had so suddenly changed.

Then I met my husband and things changed again. From empty nest to a nest with two little chicks. And the process began again. Step-daughters with active schedules, lives that needed tended, and it was easy to put myself on the shelf. Right next to all the other dusty things. Soon enough one child left again (now second year in college) and this fall, the last chickadee leaves for college in MA. Just home this weekend from orientation and what a world of difference that makes. For everyone it's a collective sigh in being assured for the next four years, she's in great hands.

And here I am again. Only this time it's different. In between a change in career, I found a secret hiding place within myself. And boy the stories that were on the shelf waiting to come out and play.

The tugging heart strings cannot be stopped, but this fall, I'm prepared. Trading one hat, I've others to wear. Never just one and lots to keep busy hat on, hat off. As these daughters make their way in the world, learning to be independent, I'm grounded and simultaneously, ready to fly. Turn on the computer, and out another story is waiting to be born.


  1. Great post Susan! And boy do I know what you mean. I cried all the way home when we dropped our oldest off for his first year of university. He's now entering his 4th final (I hope) year. I plan to give him bus ticket and hope he gets there in one piece. LOL

  2. Thank you Anne. No one can ever tell a parent not to worry. And when we leave our children at college, it's a whole different shade of worry as I'm sure you know. Grow pains for the whole family! Enjoy these years too.


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